How to Remove an Over-the-Range Microwave

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Microwaves have become a central part of modern kitchen designs. No longer considered a luxury or a shortcut, microwaves make cooking faster even if you’re dedicated to the delicacy of stove-top and oven cooking. Microwaves melt butter, boil water, and they’re absolutely essential for enjoying leftovers on the fly. This has become so normal that microwaves have been installed in high-tech kitchen designs for decades, now. The above-the-stove microwave is a convenient way to free up counter space and double as the oven fan vent. However, if that microwave stops working or needs a serious back-panel repair, then it will be necessary to remove the over-the-range unit from its cabinetry before you can continue.

Today, we’re here to explain how to take down an over-the-range microwave. Though there are many mounting, bracket, and microwave designs, these steps should cover the essentials and give you the tools you need to complete your task safely. 

Gather Your Tools

  • Screwdriver
  • Work Gloves
  • Towel
  • A Friend
  • A Step-Ladder

Start your process by gathering the tools you need. Have them ready so they will be available at the correct moment and you won’t have to go hunting for them. For this process, you will need a screwdriver, most likely Phillips (cross) head of an average size. You will also need a towel to set the microwave and other components down safely when the appliance comes down.

It can help to wear work gloves that will protect your hands from sharp edges and give you a better grip. You may also want a friend to help you safely support and then lower the microwave when the time comes. Because some of these brackets are up high, consider a step ladder as well. 

Lights On, Power Off

You will need to disconnect power to the microwave, to be safe and for the uninstallation. You will also need good light to finish the task.

Unplug the Microwave

If you can open a cabinet and unplug the microwave, do this now. You can continue working with the overhead kitchen light or grab a flashlight for angled light if this will help you.

OR Switch Off the Kitchen Breaker

If you can’t yet reach the microwave’s power plug because it’s hidden behind the installation, you’ll need to cut the power another way. Switch off the kitchen’s breaker instead. Of course, this will leave you without light.

Set Up a Battery-Powered Light Source

If you flipped the breaker, grab yourself an alternate light source like a flashlight or a battery-powered lamp.  

Uninstall the Microwave Vent

Over-the-range microwaves come with an extra part, a vent assembly that pulls cooking fumes up and then out of the house. This assembly is at the bottom of your suspended microwave and will need to be removed before the microwave can be removed from the cabinet.

Remove the Lower Screws

Identify the screws on the underside of the microwave assembly and extract them with your screwdriver. Look for screws both on the bottom and sides of the lower vent assembly to remove. Set them all aside somewhere they can be found.

Pull Out the Air Filter

Remove the air filter and set it aside for cleaning. Most microwave vent filters are metal and can be cleaned with normal hot water and dish soap.

Remove the Microwave Vent Assembly

Now take off the rest of the microwave vent assembly. It may simply fit off with a bit of pulling or there may be a few additional tabs and mounting screws to remove. Get it off completely and set it aside on a towel. 

Remove the Cabinet Brackets

The brackets mounting your microwave to the upper cabinetry are usually hidden so that the microwave looks nice. To access them, you will likely need to get inside the adjacent cabinets. This may also require a step-ladder.

Open the Cabinets

Open up all the cabinets nearest your microwave, above and to the sides.

Identify & Remove the Mounting Screws

Look inside the cabinets, toward the microwave. You will likely see several brackets surrounding the microwave with large screws holding the appliance in place. Very carefully start to remove them.

Catch Your Microwave

Now is when you position your friend to provide additional support underneath the microwave while you slowly remove the screws currently supporting it’s position. If you must work as a solo repair technician, use your knee or one hand to support the microwave while carefully removing the screws one at a time.

Remove the Final Screws

With the microwave supported, ideally by a friend, remove the last screws holding the microwave in place. 

Extract Your Microwave

Lower or Pull the Microwave from Its Cabinet

With your microwave now completely loose, it will either fall forward in a rack or it will be completely subject to gravity. Carefully pull it free of any racks or support beams and lower it to the counter.

Set the Microwave Down on a Towel

Have a towel ready to receive the microwave when you set it down. This will keep your counter safe from any lower mounting brackets from the vent or a hard-hitting corner. 

Clean the Now-Empty Compartment

With your microwave removed, your process is almost done. We strongly advise that you take a moment to clean the area that your microwave once occupied. There’s bound to be a thin layer of cooking grease and grime in the space, and perhaps a bit of dust. Now is the perfect time to clear that space before you renovate or install a new microwave. 

Consider Your Next Microwave

Finally, consider what to do replacing the microwave. You will either be reinstalling your current microwave after a repair or purchasing a new one. Do you want another over-the-range microwave or a counter-top model? If you choose a new over-the-range, what improvements would you make? These are important choices, as your microwave is an essential part of the modern kitchen workflow. For more helpful appliance repair guides or to consult on your home appliance repair needs, contact us today!

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